On the face of it, the numbers are pretty breathtaking.
It is always an arbitrary exercise trying to boil down 435 House races to a Top 50 list, and of course not everyone will agree with it. But in doing so this year, I came to an unmistakable conclusion: the Democrats are in trouble.
Now, of course, I'm not the first to say that. But of the 50 House races I have deemed to be the most significant, 46 of them are held by Democrats. That doesn't bode especially well for their attempt to retain control of the House; a net loss of 39 seats and John Boehner (R) becomes the next speaker.
Judging by this list, that goal is certainly within reach.
Many of the Democrats on the list are ones who took GOP seats in 2006 and 2008. The anti-Bush/anti-GOP trend of those cycles is now looking like an anti-Obama/anti-Democratic trend this year, and many of these seats are expected to switch.
Also vulnerable are those Democrats on the list who are in districts won by John McCain in 2008. Chet Edwards, for example, represents a district in East Central Texas that went 67 percent for McCain. In freshman Bobby Bright's seat in southeast Alabama, it was 63 percent for McCain. In fact, of the 46 Democratic seats on this list, 26 were carried in 2008 by the Republican presidential candidate. And it's fair to say that in many of these districts, Barack Obama's favorability is far worse than it was two years ago.
Of the four districts here currently held by Republicans, there are no surprises. Mike Castle (Del.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) are leaving to run for the Senate, and Democrats have good candidates in both districts. Hawaii's Charles Djou won his seat because of Democratic disunity, and Joseph Cao owes his victory in Louisiana to the ethics woes of his predecessor, Bill Jefferson.
But here, Democrats are in trouble all over the map. That's true even in New England, where with Chris Shays' (R-Conn.) defeat in 2008 there is not, for the first time in history, a single House Republican left. This year, the GOP has a shot at reclaiming both seats in New Hampshire.
Having one party overwhelmingly at risk in House seats is not unusual; we saw it in 1994, when the GOP took control for the first time in 40 years, and again in 2006, when the Democrats made their comeback.
I know that limiting this list to a "top 50" is asking for trouble. But it is not a final list, and it is certainly subject to revision as we get closer to November 2.
The seats are listed alphabetically, not in order of vulnerability. Democratic candidates are listed first. Incumbents are in CAPS.
Ala. 02 — BOBBY BRIGHT vs. Martha Roby.
Ariz. 01 — ANN KIRKPATRICK vs. Paul Gosar
Ariz. 05 — HARRY MITCHELL vs. David Schweikert
Ariz. 08 — GABRIELLE GIFFORDS vs. Jesse Kelly
Ark. 01 — open D (Marion Berry retiring); Chad Causey vs. Rick Crawford
Ark. 02 — open D (Vic Snyder retiring); Joyce Elliott vs. Tim Griffin
Colo. 04 — BETSY MARKEY vs. Cory Gardner
Del. AL — open R (Mike Castle for Senate); John Carney vs. 9/14 primary winner
Fla. 02 — ALLEN BOYD vs. Steve Southerland
Fla. 08 — ALAN GRAYSON vs. Dan Webster
Fla. 24 — SUZANNE KOSMAS vs. Sandy Adams
Haw. 01 — Colleen Hanabusa vs. CHARLES DJOU
Idaho 01 — WALT MINNICK vs. Raul Labrador
Ill. 10 — open R (Mark Kirk for Senate); Dan Seals vs. Robert Dold
Ill. 11 — DEBBIE HALVORSON vs. Adam Kinzinger
Ill. 14 — BILL FOSTER vs. Randy Hultgren
Ind. 08 — open D (Brad Ellsworth for Senate); Trent VanHaaften vs. Larry Bucshon
Ind. 09 — BARON HILL vs. Todd Young
Kans. 03 — open D (Dennis Moore retiring); Stephene Moore vs. Kevin Yoder
La. 02 — 8/28 primary winner vs. JOSEPH CAO
La. 03 — open D (Charlie Melancon for Senate); Ravi Sangisetty vs. 8/28 primary winner
Md. 01 — FRANK KRATOVIL vs. 9/14 primary winner
Mich. 01 — open D (Bart Stupak retiring); Gary McDowell vs. Dan Benishek
Mich. 07 — MARK SCHAUER vs. Tim Walberg
Miss. 01 — TRAVIS CHILDERS vs. Alan Nunnelee
Mo. 04 — IKE SKELTON vs. Vicky Hartzler
Nev. 03 — DINA TITUS vs. Joe Heck
N.H. 01 — CAROL SHEA-PORTER vs. 9/14 primary winner
N.H. 02 — open D (Paul Hodes for Senate); 9/14 primary for both parties
N.J. 03 — JOHN ADLER vs. Jon Runyan
N.M. 02 — HARRY TEAGUE vs. Steve Pearce
N.Y. 24 — MICHAEL ARCURI vs. 9/14 primary winner
N.Y. 29 — vacant D (Eric Massa resigned); Matthew Zeller vs. Tom Reed
N.C. 08 — LARRY KISSELL vs. Harold Johnson
N.D. AL — EARL POMEROY vs. Rick Berg
Ohio 01 — STEVE DRIEHAUS vs. Steve Chabot
Ohio 15 — MARY JO KILROY vs. Steve Stivers
Ohio 16 — JOHN BOCCIERI vs. Jim Renacci
Pa. 03 — KATHY DAHLKEMPER vs. Mike Kelly
Pa. 07 — open D (Joe Sestak for Senate); Bryan Lentz vs. Pat Meehan
Pa. 08 — PATRICK MURPHY vs. Mike Fitzpatrick
Pa. 10 — CHRIS CARNEY vs. Tom Marino
S.C. 05 — JOHN SPRATT vs. Mick Mulvaney
Tenn. 06 — open D (Bart Gordon retiring); Brett Carter vs. Diane Black
Tenn. 08 — open D (John Tanner retiring); Roy Herron vs. Steve Fincher
Texas 17 — CHET EDWARDS vs. Bill Flores
Va. 02 — GLENN NYE vs. Scott Rigell
Va. 05 — TOM PERRIELLO vs. Robert Hurt
Wash. 03 — open D (Brian Baird retiring); Denny Heck vs. Jaime Herrera
Wis. 07 — open D (Dave Obey retiring); Julie Lassa vs. 9/14 primary winner